Wasilla, Alaska–Conservative pundit Sarah Palin declared open season on liberals Wednesday, urging her followers to hunt down and kill key Democrats who supported the public health care legislation signed into law Tuesday night by President Obama.
“Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead—RELOAD!” Palin said in a misspelled and oddly capitalized post on her Facebook page. “Take them from your helicopters, take them from your trucks, take them in the open woods, take them anywhere you can find them. We’re going to reclaim the power of the people from those who disregarded the will of the people and return control of this country to the Americans who know how to manage it best—the bankers, insurance companies, corporate leaders and the elite members of the military-industrial complex.”
Palin also posted a U.S. map showing where 20 key Democrats live, marking their locations on the map with the crosshairs of a rifle sight.
Reaction from her conservative followers, known as Palin’s Posse, was swift and violent.
Bricks were thrown through windows at the offices and homes of several Democratic leaders. Somebody cut the gas line at the home of the brother to Rep. Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va. Many lawmakers received verbal and written death threats, including Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., whose vote was critical to the passage of the health care bill.
“Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother f***er… I hope you bleed out your a**, got cancer and die, you mother f***er,” one grammatically challenged man told Stupak. An angry woman also left a voicemail that sounded surprisingly New-Agey for an über conservative, but also darkly twisted: “There are millions of people across the country who wish you ill, and all of those thoughts that are projected on you will materialize into something that’s not very good for you.”
Palin remained unapologetic.
“With the president signing this unwanted and ‘transformative’ government takeover of our health care system today with promises impossible to keep, let’s not get discouraged,” Palin said. “Let’s go get ourselves some trophies. Bonus points for anybody who gets one of their staffers, too, you betcha!”
Palin, Alaska’s former governor, first gained national prominence as the vice presidential candidate for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. An avid supporter of gun rights, she was known for hunting moose from a helicopter. She’s now a conservative commentator for Fox News, “America’s Fact-Challenged Network” and the home of a highly successful job-training program for mentally challenged workers like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.
Some observers said the vehement reaction to the health care legislation recalls the threats and violence directed against political leaders during the highly charged civil rights debates of the 1960s.
“Now, everything is ‘kill’ or destroy the other party, not just beat them at the polls,” said former House historian Raymond Smock, who directs the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies in Shepherdstown, W.V. “All this talk of ‘targeting’ other people is very dangerous stuff, and it’s getting worse.”
“Pshaw!” Palin responded. “Americans have a long tradition of shooting one another, especially when it comes to politics. That’s why we have a Second Amendment protecting our right to bear arms. It protects the balance of power. My goodness golly, in Tennessee, shootings are so common, you have to promise not to shoot anybody when you take an oath of office. We’re just having a little good old fashioned fun here.”